State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said on CNBC today that trying to estimate the cost of Sandy is almost impossible at this point, because the dimensions of the damage she caused – both physical and economical – are simply unmeasureable this soon after the storm.

“The real challenge here in trying to come up with a bottom line is that there is no bottom line at this point,” DiNapoli said.

“You know the estimates are obviously in the billions in terms of an impact – property damage, loss of business. We’re concerned, obviously, about the revenue impact coming to the State of New York. Our budget has been in a very fragile condition.”

“We’re all trying to make assessments, but I think any guesstimate out there right now is just that. A guesstimate. In the short run there’s going to be a negative impact, there’s no doubt about it.”

DiNapoli noted that the price tag to the federal, state and local governments from Irene and Lee was $1.2 billion for recovery and clean-up. And Sandy, by all accounts, did far more damage.

(To clarify: The federal government picked up 75 percent of the cost of post-storm clean-up. Cuomo has said he wants the feds to pay at least 90 percent – if not more; he joked today that he would prefer 110 percent – of the costs associated with Sandy).

Also significant is the fact that the bulk of the impacted area is in New York City, which serves as the economic engine for the state, while the damage of last year’s storms – while horrific – was confined upstate where impact on the state’s bottom line (in terms of tax revenue and economic actively) is less of a concern.

DiNapoli also pointed out that the MTA was having financial troubles long before Sandy struck, particularly with its capital budget.

“They obviously weren’t anticipating the kind of damage that this storm has brought,” the comptroller said. “So, long term where we’re at with financing with the MTA, it’s a very unclear picture.”

The comptroller, a former assemblyman who still lives in his native Long Island, said he has “never seen anything like this” before in terms of storm damage. He noted small businesses are also being hurt in the suburbs where widespread power outages have brought most economic activity to a standstill.

“I do think this is what the new normal is going to be, and we would be wise to listen to Mother Nature,” DiNapoli said. “What that is going to mean in terms of cost anybody’s guess. And we have so many unmet needs already that’s going to be a long-term discussion, and one that’s not easily resolved given our limited resources.”